Monday, April 23, 2012

Monaco Celebrates; Stigers Gets Personal - Bob Stewart

Jazz Times called it right when the magazine declared Hammond B-3 master Tony Monaco "smokes," wielding his instrument with "exuberance, skillful dynamics and galvanic solo construction...Monaco has plenty of soul." Downbeat magazine agreed, saying that Monaco's music "burns with intensity and passion." Now, the Columbus, Ohio-based organ virtuoso releases his most personal collection of grooves yet with the double-disc set, "Celebration." One of the CDs is a 'best of' compilation from previous releases. The other features an hour-plus set of Monaco originals. Monaco's tunes are steeped in the classic B-3 verities that he learned first- hand from mentor Jimmy Smith, even as he pushes forward with his own technical flair and musical fire. Singer/saxophonist Curtis Stigers' new CD -- "Let's Go Out Tonight" -- is a departure from his previous projects, sidestepping the Great American Songbook completely. Rather, it includes a vibrant cross-section of pop, folk, country and soul tunes from songwriters ranging from Bob Dylan, Eddie Floyd and Richard Thompson to Jeff Tweedy, Steve Earle and Clyde Otis. Stigers describes the new project as, "probably the most autobiographical album I've ever made. It hits so many places I've been and things I've gone through and am currently going through. They're songs I've had in my back pocket for years and have always wanted to record."

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